Direct Care Health Industry Jobs are in Demand

Maximo Familia is an artist who turned his talent into a career. But when that career faltered, Familia turned to an industry he believes will be more viable: health care.

At 47, Familia is one semester away from graduating with an associate degree in nursing from Cox College, a program affliliated with CoxHealth that trains people for nursing and specialized health fields. Helping people is a passion for Familia, who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. But working in a field with strong growth was important, too.

“Some years ago when the economy was not that good, I got laid off and that was my time to rethink of what else there was for me to do,” he said. “And that’s when I decided to become a nurse.”

It’s a well-paid career, he said, but that wasn’t all. “It was not the sense of money but actually the security of having a job that, maybe, if I was good enough, I would not get laid off. That I would not encounter that situation ever again in my life,” he said.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor bear that out. According to numbers released for end of June, 39,200 people were employed in the education and health services category. Though that’s slightly down from May, at 9.8 percent growth year-over-year, it still reflects the largest number of jobs and strongest gains in this area.

That doesn’t mean some jobs at health care facilities aren’t being reduced or eliminated. Mercy and CoxHealth hospitals, two of Springfield’s biggest employers, run leaner these days when it comes to support staff. Mercy recently reduced positions through layoffs. CoxHealth has kept positions unfilled.

Direct care and clinical positions, on the other hand, are in high demand and that’s not likely to change anytime soon, say officials for both hospital systems.

That’s good news for job-seekers. Registered nurses, allied health professionals (physical, occupational, speech therapists), laboratory professionals and advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants are all being filled in Springfield and nationwide.

Read more from the Springfield News-Leader here.